Jeff Ford
September 1, 2004

If there was ever a Mustang that was a case in point for being able to do a slick clean car on a budget, the '69 SportsRoof owned by Perry Ford of Decatur, Georgia, is it. in case you are wondering if there is a family connection between Perry and the editor, we'd both answer yes-even though Perry is African American and I . . . well, am not, though my hair is kinda fuzzy most days.

As you may know, once you are horse bit, the itch to own again is almost overpowering. We know Perry has experienced this first hand, since back in the '80s Perry gave up a similar SportsRoof in order to afford a home for his family. Some things are more important than our Fords. And for Perry, putting a roof over his wife Angela's and their children's heads got top billing. Even so, Perry kept an eye on both sides of the road in a good part of the southeast while working as an insurance adjuster for commercial trucks and heavy equipment. You just never know when that deal will pop up.

Perry never lost his love for the mark and would, like so many of us, drive past houses looking into back yards and garages-hoping. "I was on the way to Augusta, Georgia, and spotted this pony sitting all alone, away from the house," Perry relates. "There were two others across the yard from this one. My first impression was that someone was taking several cars and trying to make one." After two more successive trips, Perry met the owner and a deal was struck for the Mustang you see here.

Now budget doesn't mean cheap. We could go into what was rusted, busted, dented, and missing, but page space won't allow the list. For a solid year, the Acapulco Blue SportsRoof sat waiting while Perry scrounged parts. Fortunately, Perry is a trained body man and at the end of that year Perry started to work his magic at friend Richard Jones' little shop out behind the house. This allowed Perry the luxury of knowing the work was done right. Angela would point out the good and bad on the car as Perry went along, thereby making it a better ride.

For power, Perry pulled a good 351 2V Windsor from a '78 T-bird, and pretty much dumped it straight into the engine bay. maybe someday the engine will get built, but for now it's sailing along fine. Looking at it you'd never know it was a yard motor by the bright work, spit and polish, and generally excellent detail work. Detailing help came from Nathaniel Key, who was instrumental in getting the engine bay to look like it does. Behind the Windsor is a C4 that pushes power to the highway flyer 2.79 open gears housed in the 9-inch rear axle housing. Once again, maybe someday it will get a ground-pounder gear, but for now its better mileage is much appreciated on those long trips where a 3.25 would suck fuel.

The option list was so short as to be nonexistent, so Perry added 15x7 Magnums and power steering. Inside it's as base as any Mustang can be with the low-back black buckets and little else. the only deviation from taxicab straight is the console and clock.

With a family to raise and bills to pay, Perry has managed to do what some only dream of-build a slick, sweet ride that he and Angela can be proud of. Perry's pony is proof that creativity and skill can go a long way toward making a low-buck ride into something that will turn heads and win trophies.